IN THE heart of the Christmas season, it is time once again to formulate a “wish list” in regard to some of the nagging issues that impact those of us who live to spend time in the great outdoors.

They call it the season of miracles and as we celebrate the greatest gift the world has ever known, it can’t hurt to ponder how we might help improve the future of Wisconsin’s outdoor traditions.

We’ve got more than our share of turmoil these days over wolf management, deer baiting, deer tag numbers, deteriorating water quality, unfriendly fishing regulations, lack of logging, etc. The list is long.

Part of the improvement might be a change in personal responsibility, for each of us plays a role in resource conservation. We can all strive to join more habitat groups and write more letters to influence public land managers.

My wish list is not written to a plump man in a red suit, but more as a prayer for some divine intervention. It’s also intended to encourage those who appreciate the outdoors to give back, conserve resources, improve attitudes and pass this unique heritage to new generations.

This list isn’t just for those of us who hunt, fish and trap. The future depends on our stewardship of the state’s plentiful, but certainly limited natural resources. Conservation of resources should be promoted and funded by all state residents.

So here goes . . . for the Christmas season and coming months, I wish:

• For a quick congressional slam dunk, before Democrats take over the majority in the House of Representatives, on liberal judges who don’t trust federal and state wildlife experts to manage a reasonable, sustainable population of gray wolves in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

• That the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would get serious about enforcing the chronic wasting disease-related ban on backyard feeding, which draws deer into residential areas where hunting can’t help control their numbers.

• That Scott Creek, McDonald Creek, Kimball Creek and other areas of the national forest that are targeted for ruffed grouse and deer habitat would be logged far more often.

• For the DNR to bring back single-use deer tags, exposed deer transport and even the old registration system to deter poaching, help law enforcement and bring accuracy to harvest totals that are currently unreliable.

• That governor-elect Tony Evers will work to restore some of the shoreland zoning protections and local control Wisconsin lost to short-sighted Republicans, before we lose more water quality, fish reproduction, wildlife habitat and eventually, property value.

• That we impose a $5,000 minimum fine on those caught littering any public or private forest with tires, appliances, mattresses or other refuse. We need a better deterrent to stop this late-night dumping.

• To congratulate Congress and the U.S. Forest Service for authorizing partnership agreements with state resource agencies that are increasing timber production, road repairs and habitat improvement.

• To praise those parents, grandparents and friends who are taking the time to mentor young hunters, giving them an early appreciation for an outdoor sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

• To once again urge the DNR to eliminate the 14- to 18-inch slot walleye limit on the Eagle River Chain because it’s not angler-friendly, hurts tourism and has not worked to produce more larger walleyes — instead saving them for poachers and tribal spearers.

• That more upland hunters would join one of the nation’s top habitat organizations, the Ruffed Grouse Society, which has a respected voice nationally in its quest for more aggressive, science-based timber management on public and private forestlands.

• That the DNR would give us back Escanaba Lake as a sustainable, educational all-year walleye fishery, as we don’t have the Wolf, Wisconsin or Mississippi rivers for chasing April walleyes.

• To heap praise where it belongs, on the managers of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, who currently are selling and cutting more wood volume than any national forest in the country.

• For health and prosperity to those volunteer instructors who take the time, without pay and/or fanfare, to teach hunting safety, boating safety, snowmobile safety and other certification courses to our youths.

• For stricter regulation of deer farms and fenced preserves that are threatening, single-handedly, the health and well-being of a native deer herd that sustains the sport of hunting and conservation work in general, through license sales.

• That all upland bird hunters could experience a day or two afield over a great dog, so they could know firsthand the added enjoyment, productivity and conservation brought by man’s best friend.

• And lastly, for God’s richest blessings upon the soldiers who are deployed to distant lands during this time of love and family togetherness. They are the true defenders of freedom, deserving our support and unending gratitude.

Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.